A Lack Of Imagination

For people with an interest in history, the best part of travel is seeing the things that you recall from your history books. To stand on the grounds of some historic battle, imagining what it was like for the people involved, makes history come alive. Usually, the thing that surprises people is the smallness. You see the place where some great conflict was resolved and you’re suddenly struck by just how human it is in terms of scale. That’s when it hits you that it was real people engaged in real human activity.

That was my experience at Turku castle when I was in Finland. I’ve been in a lot of very old buildings, so I am used to the closeness of these places, but the smallness of the castle was impressive. From the outside, it has the desired effect. It is towering as you approach it on foot, which was surely the idea of the people who built it. It was supposed to be an intimidating fortification. The guys in side, after all, were the people in charge and they wanted everyone within eye-shot to know it and respect it.

Once you enter, perspective begins to change. In the late 13th century when the castle was built, Europeans had not caught up to the Romans, in terms of engineering and architecture. The arch was still a struggle, for example. As a result, in order to build up, it still meant starting wide. If you wanted a high wall, it had to have a very wide base. To have multiple floors, meant thick ceilings, tiny windows and narrow passageways. The effect, once inside, is almost claustrophobic. It was like living in a cave.

One of the stranger things you will see when you tour the place is young people constantly looking at their phones. At first I thought they were just texting friends or simply unable to pay attention. Instead, what I learned is they were looking at pictures on-line of where they were in the castle. In other words, reality was now their virtual reality and virtual reality was their reality. They could better relate to the images on their phones and the descriptions, than the actual place with the plaques describing the rooms.

In this story about the opening of Nero’s palace, there is a bit toward the bottom where they describe how you can experience the place with virtual reality goggles. There is a picture of people looking rather silly with the things strapped onto their faces. They look like prisoners in some sort of dystopian prison facility. As absurd as it seems, the people who created the exhibit think it is a winning idea. They are probably right. Young people will prefer to sit in the darkness wearing a headset than trying to use their imagination.

When I was a kid, people used to fret about young people watching television, rather than using their imaginations playing games. Most of these concerns were dismissed, as television was rather crude. I grew up with a black and white television until we got the fancy color model that was rather cartoonish in retrospect. No child was ever going to mistake the flickering images on the TV screen for reality or even a plausible replacement for what they could imagine. Television was just fancy cartoons at that stage.

We have come a long way and more important, the internet is far more immersive than television, because it is interactive. About a quarter of adult Americans are on-line constantly. Some of it is the requirement of work, but most of it is simply the fact that on-line is now as much a part of real life as real life. It’s no surprise that those young people in Turku would be confused by the inside of that castle and decide to use their phones to reorient themselves. They lack the imagination to do otherwise.

That’s the thing about imagination. It is a form of getting lost. To imagine things you have to wander off from what you know, using bits and pieces of what you do know to infer things about someplace you have never seen or create a place that does not exist. To imagine what it was like for people 500 years ago, you have to leave this world and wander off to a place you can never truly know. It’s like wandering off in a strange city. There is a risk involved, as you could imagine things that you don’t like all that much.

That’s another thing you see while traveling. Of course, we all see young people walking about with their phone right in front of their face. It’s easy to make sport of, because it is ridiculous to anyone over the age of 40, but it says something about the age. You’ll also notice fewer tourists just wandering around a city. They use their GPS to go from point to point, as if the in-between bits are static. Just wandering around is not only scary to modern people, it is pointless. They can’t imagine the purpose of it.

As the doors of the custodial state slowly close on us, you have to wonder if one of the consequences is a loss of imagination. Maybe that is just a function of us getting dumber, but the immersion in virtual reality may play a part as well. In fact, that may be why people are so sanguine about their infantilization. Their minds are so busy in the virtual world, they are oblivious to what’s happening in the real world. Notice the concern for on-line censorship, but the indifference to an oligopoly controlling the financial system.

On the other hand, maybe the apparent lack of imagination is simply an end point, in the Spenglarian sense of history. The escape into the virtual world is not an escape at all, but rather a new way to experience the same old thing. Virtual reality is like a rebooting of an old movie or TV series. The person’s on-line life is the same character they play in real life, just on a different set. Like old people reminiscing about the old days, we’re simply busying ourselves as we wait to be washed away by whatever comes next.

The Lie Machine

On an August night in 2016, Russell Orlando Courtier got into a dispute with Larnell Bruce Jr. in the parking lot of a convenience store in Oregon. Authorities are unsure what caused the dispute or why it escalated into a physical escalation. All they know is it ended when Courtier drove over a machete wielding Bruce with his Jeep. Courtier was eventually arrested and convicted of first degree murder. He was just sentenced to life in prison, which in Oregon means he gets out in 30 years, assuming good behavior.

Now, according to the media, the attack was a hate crime. Russell Orlando Courtier is a 40-year old white man and Larnell Bruce Jr. was a 19-year old black man, who is dutifully described by the media as a teenager. They want you to get the impression that he was an innocent 13-year old out riding his bike when he was viciously attacked by this white supremacist. Larnell Bruce Jr. is Emmett Till, another unfortunate black body destroyed by a society that was built on and continues to promote white supremacy.

In realty Larnell Bruce Jr. was a hyper-violent serial criminal, with 16 convictions, including one for beating a child with a skateboard. At just 19-years old, Larnell Bruce Jr. was well on his way to either life in a cage or the local cemetery. In fairness, none of his crimes warranted him getting killed by another lunatic in a parking lot, but the arc of his life was leading to this end from the day he was born. The fact is, some people are born bad and they come to bad ends. That was the case for Larnell Bruce Jr.

For his part, Russell Orlando Courtier was not quite the public menace as Mr. Bruce, but he has been convicted of four felonies and three misdemeanors. One of his convictions was for beating the mother of his child. Another was for attacking a man with a knife and another was for attacking a man with broken glass. During his time in the prison system, he joined a white prison gang. When he confronted Mr. Bruce, he was sporting prison ink from that gang and reportedly a hat with a white supremacist logo.

In other words, the real story here is that one of them miraculously made it to 40 without killing someone and the other managed to make it to adulthood. In a better managed society, the parents of Mr. Courtier would have been sterilized before reproducing and the parents of Mr. Bruce would not have been here. Eugenics gets a bad name, but it would have prevented these two lunatics from terrorizing society. In the case of Mr. Courtier, it would have prevented him from making another copy of himself.

According to the media, this is another example of white supremacists murdering innocent black people. The story will be entered into the various databases kept by groups that the lie machine relies upon to testify about these things. In ten years, no one will bother to look up the facts of cases like this. Instead, a ridiculous looking representative of an anti-white terror group will be allowed to include it in their libel against whites. Your children will be guilty, because two violent felons got into a beef in Oregon that ended in murder.

That’s how the lie machine works. The mass media contorts and manipulates events to fit into the narrative. The anti-white hate groups, like the ADL, then cherry pick their best work to include in their libel against white people. They are then invited by the media onto the various platforms to repeat their libel against white people. Other media platforms are assigned to cover these modern minstrel shows, so the lies go through the megaphones once more. Like an echo, the lie is repeated over and over and over.

This is highly orchestrated and coordinated propaganda by people who know exactly what they are doing. At the bottom of that news story is a video the news site put together. It has some clips of the family of the slain man talking about how much they miss the victim. There are images of the victim as a boy. The point of the video is to make you think the convicted man killed a innocent little child, rather than another hyper violent serial felon. Goebbels could not have imagined propaganda of this scale.

This is not simply bias. The mass media is a highly coordinated lie machine, purpose built to promote a blood libel against white people. Russell Orlando Courtier is a monster who should be in a cage, but people like Larnell Bruce Jr. are, according to the Obama administration, three percent of the population, but responsible for 30% of the homicides in this country. Yet, according to the lie machine, outliers like Courtier are the great threat to democracy, while the far more common and lethal people like Bruce are the victims.

It is a bit of trope now to point out that the anti-white bias in the media. It is so pervasive and common, it is now the soundtrack of our lives. That really does not get to the nature of the hatred these people have for us. A dinky little publication like the Oregonian invested hundreds of hours in order to promote this fake hate crime. You don’t do that unless the hatred is so consuming that it is the focus of your life. The fact is, these people are now defined by their hatred of white America. It’s who they are. It’s all they are.

Too Dumb To Make It

In dissident circles, it is generally accepted that the West has lost its way due to two main problems. One is that the ruling class has embraced a set of ideas about human organization that are at odds with biological reality. Either from a desire to feel righteous or just from reckless disregard for their duties, they have embraced a set of beliefs about humanity we loosely call multiculturalism. The two roots of this belief set are the blank slate and egalitarianism. We are amorphous blobs with equal potential.

The other problem is that this desire to include everyone has allowed all sorts of barking at the moon crazies to gain positions of influence in the culture. These are the people who show up in the corporate human resource department chanting about the need make sure everyone holds the exact same opinions, all in the name of diversity. These are the people running around attacking statuary on the college campus. Fear of these crazies has damaged our normal mechanism for defending society from external threats.

At Our Wit’s End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What It Means for Our Future, by Edward Dutton and Michael A. Woodley of Menie, offers an alternative explanation for why we are seeing the West in crisis. Ed Dutton is an English anthropologist who teaches at the University of Oulu in Finland. Michael A. Woodley is a British ecologist and intelligence researcher with the Center Leo Apostel at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Both have written extensively about human intelligence.

Their book is an effort to track general intelligence in the West, against the backdrop of human accomplishment in the West. More specifically, they make the case that the West is getting dumber, even when adjusting for immigration, and the process has been going on for a long time. As a result, the West is following in the same path as prior civilizations that experienced a similar decline in general intelligence. Stupid people do stupid things and cumulatively, they eventually bring the whole thing down.

The book starts with one of those obvious examples that is so obvious, you wonder why you did not notice it. Fifty years ago this July, humans landed on the moon. The lunar program was started roughly a decade before and NASA went from having crude rockets unable to put satellites into space to sending people to the moon and bringing them back safely. To people alive in that time, it was an incredible moment, and one they assumed was the dawn of the space age, when man would traverse the stars.

Today, we cannot reach the moon. In fact, we struggle to hurl a probe to the moon. The Israelis are celebrating because their probe managed to actually hit the moon, rather than miss it entirely. NASA is no longer able to do much of anything and instead spends its time celebrating diversity. Whatever the reason, in this one area, the West is clearly not where it was fifty years ago. Instead of the moon landing being a launching point for the exploration of space, it was the peak of human ability to explore the stars.

Another obvious example they begin with, one that should hit home for men in their middle years, is the Concorde. If you were a kid in the 1970’s, the Concorde was the shape of things to come. Instead of six and seven hour flights across the continent or the Atlantic Ocean, flight time would be a few hours. Everyone was sure we would soon be hopping on super-fast planes to be halfway around the globe in a few hours. Instead, we stand in line for hours at the airport to get on planes no faster than fifty years ago.

These two great examples are the jumping off point to explain that we are not only getting dumber, but the biological process causing it. The book itself is actually a series of essays, grouped together into topics related to the main theme. It is written for a general audience, so even if the reader has little exposure to cognitive studies, the material is easy to follow. In fact, the book also works a great introduction for those curious about IQ and the ways in which science has for studying human cognitive ability.

For those with an interest in Roman history, the discussions of intelligence in the Republic, as well as the Empire, are very interesting. There are a great many theories as to why the Republic collapsed into autocracy and why the Western Empire collapsed. In fact, that’s the fun part of studying the Romans. Why they suddenly, so it seems, veered from consensual government to military dictatorship and empire is one of the great stories of Western history. It’s a great story full of amazing characters, both good and bad.

What the authors suggest is that a biological process was the root of the rise of Rome, it’s flourishing as a republic and then it’s decent into autocracy and eventually collapse. Their theory is a great addition to Joseph Tainter’s ideas about the collapse of complex civilizations. Taken together, it suggests Spengler’s observation about civilization is the result of people building social organizations that eventually become too complex for them to manage. Or, they simply become too dumb to operate what their ancestors left them.

Perhaps the most compelling example is their look at the golden age of Islam. Maybe it is because it is unfamiliar to Westerners, so we have no emotional bias, but the math presented to explain the rise and fall is revelatory. Not only does it explain the collapse of “high Islam” but it explains the rise of modern Islam. It opens the door to understanding this strange, esoteric civic cult that has taken up residence among the ruling elites in the West. It is a short essay, but very powerful in explaining their argument.

Now, the one complaint about the book is it really could have gone into great depth about some of the examples used to make their points. The section on Islam would make for a great 10,000 word essay. They only brush up against the phenomenon of religion rising, falling and then rising again in the late stages of civilization. It is a great example of a short book that the reader will wish was much longer. Usually, the opposite is true. Most books are too long and in need of a ruthless editor. This is not one of those books.

Finally, for dissidents, this book is a black pill. Most of us hang onto the hope that we can find a way to argue and organize our way out of this decline. The truth is, the West may simply lack the human capital to keep the plates spinning much longer. In other words, the die may have been cast a dozen generations ago when smart people started limiting their fertility and helping the poor make it too adulthood. The result being a steady decline in our IQ to the point where we are no longer fit to carry on as a civilization.

The Civil War

America is a land that bans books, has political prisoners and condemns people to a form of internal exile where they cannot have a job or maintain a normal life. Ten years ago, if someone said Americans would lose their jobs because they liked something on social media, only the aluminum foil hat types would have believed it. Such things were considered impossible just a decade ago. In the 1980’s, these were the sorts of things that happened in the Soviet Union, which was why communism was considered evil.

Yet, here we are, seeing things we thought impossible not so long ago. This is a clip from a television show aired on one of the legacy networks. The video is a naked call for violence against whites. Even after all of the outrageous behavior we have seen from the ruling class the last few years, no reasonable person would have thought this was possible even a year ago. Even the Soviets at the worst were not exhorting people to commit acts of violence against enemies of the revolution.

Up until now, it was reasonable to think that the paleocons were right. The Left was using excited language in an effort to keep their coalition of non-white tribes focused on white men, rather than their many grievances with one another. That sounded logical and let’s face it, it is what most normal white people want to believe. After all, the implication of this line of reasoning is that the Left is struggling to keep it together. We don’t have to worry about facing them in a fight, as they will splinter and abandon the field.

The travelling partner to this line of thought comes from the principled conservatives, who are always ready to create a new set of conservative principles to excuse the excesses of the Left. Without acknowledging the paleocons, they implicitly accept the argument, but add on that the more sober minded on the Left will see the folly of their actions and begin to rein in their crazies, before anything serious happens. This is when they accuse the dissident right of harming civility and appeal to the Left for bipartisanship.

It’s not hard to see why normal middle-class white people find this appealing. They live ordered lives and just want to be left to live those ordered lives in peace. What they don’t want to see is violence in the streets and they certainly don’t want to be asked to confront those violent crazies on their streets. The Danegeld gets a bad reputation, but it is easy to understand the appeal in the moment. The current version is the Prog-geld, where the civilized concede a little bit of civilization, in order to avoid fighting the Prog.

This cycle where the Left commits outrages against civility and the white middle-class accommodates it, has led to where we are now. The people calling themselves the defenders of democracy tried to subvert the last Presidential election. The so-called social justice warriors celebrate a black movie star walking free after perpetrating a blood libel against white people. The defenders of open debate on the college campus, rush to suppress any opinion not on the increasingly narrow list of approved opinions.

That is an important clue. Spend time on social media and you see the people claiming to be the vanguard of the proletariat celebrating trillion dollar corporations stomping on poor guys holding the wrong opinions. The pampered Progressives in the ruling class imagine themselves to be the resistance against oppression. This justifies them using any means necessary to defeat their enemy. That video is a justification of preemptive violence, because they believe people like you are a threat to their well-being.

It’s why it is time think about what is impossible today, in terms of social breakdown, as it will most likely happen tomorrow. The blood lust of the ruling class for whites not obediently walking into the void, is now undeniable. Their response to the 2016 election was to declare war on white America. In their minds, it is a defensive war and they are fully justified to use any means necessary to win. There will be no point where they pull back, fearing they have gone too far. Instead they will always seek to go further.

Again, America is a land where books are banned, people are given long prison terms for holding unpopular opinions and the livelihoods of contrarians are destroyed. This is a land where gangs of roving mobs, financed by billionaires, commit violence against citizens without consequence. Now we have a major television network calling for violence against whites and celebrating violent acts against a specific person. All of this was thought to be impossible ten years ago. What impossible thing will tomorrow bring?

Horizontal and Vertical

There are a lot of ways of describing the great debate in the West that has raged, off and on, since the Enlightenment. The most popular way is to frame it as Left-versus-Right, even though the definition of Left and Right has changed significantly over time. Another way is to view it as traditionalists versus progressives. The former resists change while the latter embraces it. Of course, there’s always the appeal to nature, about the natural order of human society, whether we are more like chimps or bonobos.

Another way to think of the great debate in the West, is to think of one side as the horizontal argument and the other as the vertical argument. Those on the Left start with the assumption that the natural state of human society is flat, where human societies are a lattice work of relationships among equals. Those on the Right look at human society as a hierarchy, where important social relations are between those above and below. To both sides of this divide, these arguments are mutually exclusive.

Starting on the Right, the argument against liberalism since the French Revolution has been focused exclusively on social hierarchy. At the bottom are the peasants, who serve a lord, who in turn is a vassal to a greater lord. This relationship continues up to the very top of both the secular order and the religious order. In fact, the secular and religious hierarchy are intertwined, reaching into the heavens. At the top is God, who is not only served by this hierarchical order, but created it and maintains it.

This hierarchical understanding of human society was the default until the Enlightenment, when both the secular and religious conception of human organization was challenged by a new conception of society. This horizontal conception sees all humans as fundamentally equal. They are equal to one another and equal before God. In fact, it is the Christian conception of equality before God that is the root of this view. If all men are created in God’s image, they must be equal before God, and therefore equal to one another.

In practical political terms, democracy is the tangible expression of the horizontal conception of human society. There can be no greater expression of social equality than one man one vote. This is why there is no room for Christianity within a fully democratic society. If God holds dominion over man, it means the inequality of man is the work of God, which contradicts the notion of universal equality. The egalitarian world view has no place for a transcendent God, so God had to be eliminated.

On the other hand, the peak of aristocratic rule was the ultimate expression and the Christian West. From the lowest peasant to the heavens, stretched an unbroken chain of vassal relationships. Every man in the chain answered to someone and everyone answered for someone. The exception were the peasants at the bottom were only responsible to their lord. Equality of any sort is pointless in such an arrangement, as even equals will have unequal duties and obligations.

To this day, both sides argue for their conception of the world to the exclusion of the alternative. In the reaction to the French Revolution, conservative thinkers focused exclusively on the need to for authority that could only come from hierarchy. Ultimately, a belief in God is what gave legitimacy and authority to all secular arrangements, as God was at the top of the nature order. As a result, they could accept no alternative to the old aristocratic order, where a monarch sat atop the social hierarchy.

Similarly, to this day the Left cannot accept that there may be a hierarchical relationship between people within a society. They have taken this to the extreme of denying basic biological differences between people, including differences between the sexes. In the French Revolution, holding up the severed head of the king was the ultimate expression of the equality of man. In this age, forcing boys to take hormones and dress like girls is the ultimate expression of sexual equality. The world is perfectly flat.

Both sides of this great debate are wrong to think each view of human society is exclusive of the other. A more complete view of human society includes both the vertical and the horizontal model. The horizontal is like a spinning disk with a tight core. That core exists around the vertical axis of hierarchy. The vertical axis is held in balance by that core. If the core collapses, the vertical wobbles and collapses. If the vertical becomes unstable, the core becomes unstable and the horizontal flies apart. Society disintegrates.

There are many explanations for why the old hierarchical order collapsed, most spectacularly in the French Revolution. The industrial revolution, changing demographics, increases in population and the rise of a middle-class are good reasons to explain some of what happened in France. The fact is, the vertical, that series of hierarchical relationships became unstable. Once the King was no longer able to pay his bills, fulfill his obligations, the logic of the system started to collapse. Without a king, there can be no hierarchy.

Today, as the West reaches the limits of horizontal organization, not only has the vertical axis of hierarchy been eliminated, the core itself is beginning to pull apart. Lacking the gravitational force of social hierarchy and the rituals and ceremonies to enforce it, the core is drifting away from itself. Instead of centrifugal force pushing dissimilar elements to the fringe, those foreign elements are free to pass through the core, increasing its rate of disintegration. As a result, the system is showing the same instability as 1789.

The question, of course, is whether there is a third conception of human society that will replace the horizontal once it dissipates. The argument from the Right is the collapse of the Progressive moral framework will inevitably lead to a restoration of the old order, where hierarchy defined social relationships. That’s unlikely as the ingredients that gave rise to the old order do not exist in the modern world. Modern western societies lack the human capital to make anything like the aristocratic order work.

There’s also the question of whether the West will exist after the collapse of the Progressive moral order. There is a strong case that the West is getting dumber, which explains the grip of multiculturalism on the ruling class. That decline in IQ is being magnified by the waves of low-IQ populations from over the horizon. We may have reached a tipping point from which there is no turning back. The future of the West may be Neolithic people squatting in the ruins of what used to be Western civilization.

If there is to be a next chapter to the story of European people, it will require a conception of society that acknowledges the hierarchical relationships that are natural to man, but also the interlocking horizontal loyalties and commitments that allows for a strong cultural core. That means transcending the crude materialism that sprang from the Enlightenment, but also acknowledging the limits of authority. That probably means a clear eyed understanding of the nature of man and his biological origins as a species.

Bring Back The Hangman

It appears the Michael Avenatti story arc has reached its final phase, with his arrest by the FBI for trying to shake down the sneaker company Nike. Like everything else about this guy’s story, the events leading up to his arrest were an amusing mix of outlandish claims and ham-handed attention seeking. He was tweeting about how he was about to expose Nike for their crimes moments, before he was arrested by the FBI for his crimes. Even in custody, he is still working the grift that landed him in Federal custody.

What’s remarkable about this Avenatti story is not that he exists or that he has managed to hustle the left-wing media for a couple of years now. He actually had them giving him money to explore running for President. What’s remarkable about his story is that he is not all that uncommon. He’s more garish than most, owing to his heritage, but his type is becoming a common feature in public life. The most prominent politicians today are every bit as dishonest and corrupt. Ours is an age of the universal sociopath.

This proliferation of sociopaths is most certainly a new thing. A few generations ago, the rules of society would have prevented a character like Avenatti from getting to this level, as his demeanor would not have been tolerated. He simply would not have been granted an audience by the media, which is a big part of his story. In fact, it’s probable that his character cannot exist without social media. New social media not only makes it easy for stupid people to get on-line, but it makes it easier for grifters to exploit them.

That’s the truth about services like Facebook and Twitter. They did not invent the concept of social media or the public platform. Usenet was a very popular platform at the dawn of the internet culture. It’s fair to say the BBS was what initially drove amateur interest in the internet. Long before Mark Zuckerberg, message board communities were flourishing on-line, serving tens of millions of people. The thing was, you had to have a little savvy to reach these platforms and you needed some smarts to exploit them.

What the new platforms did was make it so a moron could get on-line. Phones come with Twitter and Facebook apps baked into the platform. In most cases, you can’t remove them even if you don’t use them. If you can operate a phone, you can be on these platforms, interacting with your fellow morons in minutes. What’s unique about this age is that the people who were encouraged to remain silent for most of human history have now been fitted with the tools to stand in the public square, bellowing like lunatics.

The stupid have always been catnip for the dishonest, so it stands to reason that the grifters would also flood in the public square, attracted by the stupid. Social media has become a hunting ground for the modern grifter. In a different age, Mike Cernovich would be a lawyer with an office behind a Vietnamese nail salon at the strip mall. Milo Yiannopoulos would have been working children’s birthday parties as a clown, who made the adults uncomfortable. Michael Avenatti would be selling real estate or used cars.

Now, go even further back and it is hard to imagine these types making it to adulthood, much less becoming public figures. For example, the serial killer is most likely a phenomenon of modernity. To get away with ritual killing, you have to live among people who don’t find it odd to be around strangers. If people started dying or disappearing in a small medieval village, people noticed. For most of human history, being a drifter or even a traveler was a good way to get killed by paranoid locals.

Of course, what we know about sociopaths like Avenatti is that their behavior did not start in late adulthood. He was a ripping people off as a kid. His inability to distinguish right from wrong probably would have gotten him killed by puberty in most times. Society was too near a run thing to tolerate these types of people. In fact, there’s good evidence that Western society deliberately removed these sorts of people from the breeding stock by the miracle of capital punishment. The executioner was essential to human civilization.

There’s pretty good evidence to suggest the prolific use of capital punishment raised western intelligence and provided the spark for what we think of us as the birth of modernity. By reducing the population of stupid people, the smart fraction increased. This led to a larger smart leisure class, who could then work on technological advances to overcome scarcity and the problems of human organization. More smart people made it possible for more smart people, so a cascading effect gave us modernity.

We know we are getting dumber now, and that may be due to the elimination of capital punishment, or possibly the fact we have eliminated the lethal consequences of stupidity, so the stupid are proliferating. Just as social media makes it possible for the proliferation of grifters, it’s possible that the end of capital punishment has allowed for the proliferation of sociopaths. In another age, these people either would have been killed in their youth or killed soon after reaching adulthood. Their reproduction would have been limited.

In short, what we may be experiencing is the result of western society evolving down a cul-de-sac, like the Panda. The proliferation of smart people resulted in a new social morality that permitted the flowering of a class of sociopaths and also a growing stock of stupid people on whom they can feed. It’s as if the Enlightenment unleashed a pathogen that made the left handed into status-seeking sociopaths and the right-handed into high-trust altruistic suckers. In time, the former has come to dominate the latter in the West.

Of course, no process continues into the future unabated. At some point, survival will require dealing with people like Michael Avenatti. If after a quick trial, he is hanged in a public square, the dynamics of society would quickly change. Being the slick talking grifter would plummet in status and even the dumb people in mass media would become afraid of them. The executions would proliferate until the balance of personality types in society was restored. In other words, it’s time to bring back the hangman.

The Grand Conspiracy

The modern age often seems chaotic and random, but there are fixed rules to human nature that transcend even this age. Despite the proliferation of gender as the preferred way of describing sex roles, biological sex still prevails. Boys and girls are still boys and girls, despite some loud attempts to create exceptions. Feminism has ruined a lot of female lives, but most women are still normal women. Human nature is immutable, despite the best efforts of the crazy people in charge to convince us otherwise.

One of those iron laws of life that will not go away, despite every attempt to pretend otherwise, is the Opposite Rule of Liberalism. Whatever the Left is howling about at the moment, you can be sure something like the opposite is the truth. Their need to deceive and their natural habit of projecting their sins onto others, combine to create a predictable part of Progressive culture. Wherever they are focusing the attention of their cult, find the spot 180 degree the opposite and you are getting close to the truth.

The release of the Mueller report is one of the great confirmations of this rule we have seen since the the Left’s reaction to the Tea Party. In 2015, as the Clinton campaign was struggling to deal with the slow releases of e-mails from WikiLeaks, they started howling about Russian hacking. The claim was Boris and Natasha had secretly gained access to the computer systems of the Clinton officials and the DNC. The point was to have the media focus on that rather than the contents of the e-mails being leaked.

The Russian hacking conspiracy soon morphed into Russian collusion and we have close to three years of frivolous investigations and media coverage about alleged collusion between Trump and Boris. The truth of course, using the opposite rule here, was that it was the Left colluding with the Russians, or someone, to undermine the election. That was really just the tip of the iceberg, as it turned out to be the FBI and the Obama White House conspiring to undermine the election. Once again, the opposite rule of liberalism holds.

Again, this is the tip of the iceberg. For years, the media has been peddling this nutty conspiracy, while at the same time waging jihad against what they consider to be conspiracy theories. The Progressive media is full of pink hat types scolding about the proliferation of conspiracies on line. CNN spearheaded the de-platforming of Alex Jones on the grounds he was spreading falsehoods. In truth, Alex Jones is a rock of sober-minded empiricism compared to the aluminum foil hate crazies of CNN.

Again, there’s that opposite rule again. The Left has been howling about conspiracy theories for several years. It turns out that it is the Left that is the primary peddler of conspiracy theories. In fact, it is not unreasonable to say the Left is nothing but a series of weird conspiracy theories now. Everything from gun grabbing to white privilege rests on the claim that mysterious forces, operating in the shadows, control daily life. The only way to counter these dark forces is for the shamans to perform the right sacrifices.

The truth is, the West is now ruled by a cult of primitives, who are incapable of dealing with the reality of the age. Instead, they cook up one nutty conspiracy theory after another to explain away that which they find upsetting. When Trump won in 2016, they could not accept that result, so they fell in love with the mother of all conspiracy theories. Even now, like a UFO cult, they cannot accept that it was all a big lie. If you want to know how they will respond to the Mueller report, here’s a preview that will hold up pretty well.

The thing about the conspiracy theories on the Left, versus the more conventional conspiracy theories, is that the Left’s theories are less plausible than anything coming from the Alex Jones types. Lizard people who look like us and live among us, but secretly control society is at least bound by physical reality. There could be a race of lizard people traveling the universe. The Left mostly relies on evil spirits and the supernatural to explain their conspiracies. All of their conspirators are dark forces operating in the shadows.

Think about how the Alex Jones types respond to their conspiracy ideas versus how the Left responds to their theories. The guys worried about the lizard people are spending their time learning about lizard people and interstellar travel. They create on-line groups to compare notes. The Left, in contrast, forms mobs to attack local statuary, believing the statues are casting evil spells on the locals. In comparison to the Left, the people worried about the lizard people come off as sober-minded and prudent.

Of course, the Left will never let go of this. It will be their JFK conspiracy, operating as a rallying point until Trump is gone. Mueller probably tried hard to find something he could use to support the theory. He was no doubt under intense pressure to find something to confirm it. His report being sequestered will feed a new round of conspiracies, but in reality, the opposite rule will apply here as well. The details of his report will reveal it was the FBI and Obama’s White House all along. That was the grand conspiracy.

The Custodial State

If you were to transport someone from the 1980’s to our age, they would be amazed by some things, like HD TV’s and streaming services. They would probably be a bit disappointed that the internet has not advanced very far or that cars are still pretty much the same as they were forty years ago. Of course, even the most jaded man of the 80’s would be shocked at the cultural revolution that has taken place. The thing that would be most shocking though, is the total collapse in social trust.

In the 1980’s, people generally thought most Democrats wanted to improve the lives of the working class and most Republicans wanted to protect the middle class. The media, while biased, had lots of people trying hard to get the facts to the public. Big business may have been motivated by greed, but most people in business were decent people. People who doubted everything were conspiracy nuts, who wore aluminum foil hats. 1980’s man would be astonished to see that only total fools trust anything in the public domain.

There are a lot of explanations for why no sensible person trusts anything now. The breakdown of homogeneous communities, mass immigration, the derangement of the civic religion by the Left, late phase empire and so on. All of these arguments are plausible in their own way and are all probably true to a degree. Human societies operate like the Julia set and the Fatou set. There are chaotic aspects that seem to defy explanation, but most of what happens in a society operates in a predictable manner.

An example of this may be how technology is changing a key relationship in Western societies that seldom gets addressed. That is the rise in the use of modern technology to insulate people from the consequences of their own behavior. This story on Zero Hedge about new Volvos threaten their drivers for driving drunk. The car will call the cops on you if it detects alcohol. Simply disabling itself is no longer seen as a enough to prevent people from self-harm, so now the car will initiate an intervention for the driver.

It is one thing to live in a world where no one can trust the public institutions. That’s something science fiction writers have imagined for a long time. There’s also nothing new with the surveillance state. The Orwellian idea of an omnipresent surveillance state, monitoring citizens as if they are prisoners is probably the most popular dystopian future in western pop culture. What no one thinks much about is a dystopian future where the state operates like an overly protective mother, rushing about to protect you from you.

That’s really what the Volvo business is about, when you think about it. It’s not about safety, as in protecting the innocent from the negligent. If that were the goal, the car would simply shutoff if the cabin sensors detected alcohol. The car notifying authorities is more like your teacher sending a note home to your parents, telling them you put gum in the hair of one of the other kids. In other words, Volvo is trying to protect you from you, with the threat of calling your parents if you don’t start acting responsibly.

Circling back to the rapid decline in social trust, what maybe happening is that these small technological changes are having drastic changes in our societies. Human societies are complex systems that have both a predictable, repetitive set of rhythms, but also a set of chaotic elements, that seem to be arbitrary. The predictable stuff, like putting up traffic speed cameras, has predictable results. People tend to be on their best behavior, as defined by social norms, when they know they are being watched.

Now, consider how children behave differently after exposure to the outside world. A part of growing up, at least it used to be, was finding out that the world was never going to be as forgiving of your mistakes as your mother. The adult world, relative to the safety of home, was a rough place. The normal process for a child transitioning from youth to adulthood was to go through a period of hyper-cynicism. Full maturity is when you realize the world is not out to get you, it is simply indifferent to your happiness.

In the evolving surveillance state, which promises to make sure citizens never have to leave the loving safety of mom, daily life is the repetition of that first realization that the world is a harsh place. That car with all the safety features did not keep you from hitting that tree and that seems unfair. The label on the shampoo bottle was not enough to prevent you from drinking it and that’s not right. Each of these realizations are met with greater demand for safety and greater efforts by the mommy state to protect us.

A great example is how gun control has become entirely feminized. In the 1970’s, gun control polices were about limiting crime. No one said it, but it was really about making it hard for blacks to get guns. It was a debate around facts about guns and crime. Today, gun grabbing is nothing more than an hysterical reaction by women to what they see on the news. It’s all about safety, by which they mean protecting people from themselves, not reducing crime. It’s mommy putting covers over the electrical sockets.

Perhaps one driver of the sudden decline in social trust is that technology now allows for the evolution of the custodial state. The future is not Orwell or Huxley, but both, operating like a mother and father, to protect us from reality. In this transition phase, modern people are regularly going through the jolt we associate with growing up, when you realize mom and dad were the only ones looking out for your interests. The cold wind of indifference and the loneliness it inspires, is making everyone into adolescent cynics.

The Sound And The Fury

American politics operates on two stages of existence. There is the moral stage, where most of the action takes place. Here, various versions of the standard narrative play out in front of the national audience. The story is always the same, but the reaction of the crowd changes from performance to performance. American political theater is interactive, not just a ceremony or ritual for the people to observe. How the crowd responds will often direct how the players on the stage respond, depending upon the performance.

Then there is the empirical stage, where some minor dramas are acted out and new props are created for the main stage. This stage mostly serves as a support system for the actors on the main stage. The policy experts come up with “solutions” to “problems” and those “solutions” are maybe used by the main players on the big stage. Most of the time, what happens on this stage is a pantomime, where the players pretend they have the ability to implement their solutions or influence those who can implement them.

The way the drama of American politics usually works is the Left finds some issue, or maybe invents it, that they claim is a threat to the community. They have a variety of words and phrases to mean community. Currently, they are fond of “democracy” but there are plenty of others. This threat to the community can be real or imaginary, it does not matter. What matters is their reaction to it. This reaction is intended to gain the attention of the audience, exaggerate the danger and draw in the other players to the drama.

Now, once the threat is identified, the Left announces their scheme to address the threat and declares that “doing nothing is not acceptable.” This is the critical point in the drama, as the new character(s) on stage, the Right, always seeks to dismiss the danger. That’s their primary role at this stage. This legitimizes the debate over the issue. Is it a threat or is it not? Should something be done or nothing? The debate itself makes the alleged danger the focus of the drama, which makes it impossible to dismiss.

At this point, elements of the Right break ranks. The Right divides over whether this threat is real and needs addressing or is not real and should be ignored. Of course, the elements who think something should be done, have to have a plan, so they come up with an alternative to what the Left has offered as the default. This creates a nice triangle. The “soft” Right gets to pose as more concerned and moderate than the “hard’ Right and at the same time pose as more practical and sober minded than the Left.

This is where the empirical stage serves its role. On this level, the minor players argue about the new props used on the main stage. The policy commentators, wonks and experts wrangle over “new” ideas for solving the new problem. Sometimes they replay the old debates about old problems. This stage operates like off-Broadway or maybe a community theater. This is where the Right prefers to spend most of his time, working on policy arguments that will be nothing more than props on the main stage.

Now, on the main stage, once the three characters have emerged fully, the “soft” Right and Left direct the audience to boo and hiss at the “hard” right for being callous about this great threat to our community. After the “hard” right has been booed off the stage, the drama reaches its final scene. The two remaining characters argue over the right course of action, with the Right now repeatedly offering up solutions to the Left, which are rejected until finally one meets the Left’s satisfaction. The music plays and the curtain falls.

There are some variations to this formula. Sometimes the danger to the community gets a speaking part. This is where variations on the devil character get a shot on the main stage. These days, neo-Nazis and white supremacists are popular. Eager for a shot in the lime light, these players are always ready to answer the call. They are even willing to dress up in the costumes laid out for them by the Left. They relish being booed by the crowd as they make their entrance and final exist.  It’s show business!

There can be other bad guys, as we saw with the #metoo stuff. In that case, the bad guy was the Jewish Hollywood type, lusting after the shiksas, using his power to force her into compromising herself. Since there is no role for the white knight to save the damsel in distress, the crowd was encouraged to cheer the brave shiksas, so they could summon the courage to vanquish the lusty Shlomo. The dramatic scene is the heroine finally speaking out as the bad Shlomo shrinks in terror at the empowered woman.

The key part of the American drama is like a real play, there’s nothing left of it after it is finished, other than memories of the performance. Homosexual marriage had a long run on the main stage, but now it is only performed, if at all, at the local level. The crisis, drama and resolution have been forgotten. Abortion is another drama that had its day, but is now largely forgotten. Once in a while a revival comes to town for the entertainment of old white women long past the point where abortion is a practical issue for them.

American theater is an essential element for the Left. It is what holds them together and gives them purpose. Like a theater group or traveling circus, the need to perform is what keeps them from splintering apart. For everyone else, it is like real show business. That is, a life that leads only to degeneracy, misery and the loss of self-respect. Whether it is the Right or the Devil, going on the stage to be the foil of the Left can only lead to failure, because that is role carved out by the writers. The drama always ends the same way.

Recently, as the crowd has become less enthusiastic for the performance, the producers have taken to inviting in new audience members from over the horizon. These newcomers are often called up on stage as props, but their main purpose is to cheer the show and shame the old audience into cheering along with them. The chorus of “This is who we are” is the cue to let the new audience lecture the old audience. As to be expected, the newcomers often flub their lines, as in the case of Ilhan Omar recently.

Now, the bitter players on the empirical stage are prone to howling about all of this being nothing but bread and circuses. That’s true, of course, but it misses an important point about social organization. The job of the people in charge of any society is to keep the people fat and happy. Otherwise, they get crazy ideas in their head. There must always been a narrative performance to keep the people focused on that which works in the favor of the ruling class. The rulers must always put on a good show for the crowd.

The novelty of this age is that the producers of our national drama have decided they are tired of playing to the old crowd. They want a new audience, one that is more grateful and appreciative of their efforts. Rather than take the show on the road, they are bringing the road to the show. The old audience, still focused on the show, or maybe busy watching the action on the empirical stage, has yet to notice their seats are slowly be taking up by new audience members, with VIP tickets issued by the producers.

Propaganda 2.0

Many of us have had that strange experience where the media is suddenly interested in something about which we either have involvement or have direct knowledge. It is a strange exhilarating thing to see people on TV or at a major media site covering something or someone you know. In most cases, that moment of exhilaration is then followed by a brief moment of confusion, then irritation and then maybe anger. Without fail, no matter how simple the topic, the media will get the important parts wrong in some way.

My first experience with this was in the early days of the internet. This was right around when the first ISP’s were mailing people diskettes with offers to try this new thing called the internet. I was on a sports statistics mailing list and somehow the local news got wind that there was a “secret cable operating on the dark internet.” Apparently, someone showed one of the lunkheads an e-mail from the list and they reacted as if they witnessed black magic. Whatever the cause, it was suddenly a media story.

The person assigned to “report” on this secret cabal on the dark internet went on television and said a bunch of things that were obviously not true. In fact, it was clear to me the person had made the whole thing up. What was fascinating to me is they made up some anecdotes to add color to their tale. In other words, this was not just laziness, but a calculated decision to create a fictional tale, rather than report the news. Given the way TV news works, it also meant everyone at the station was in on the scam.

It was a moment of clarity, but as Theodore Dalrymple wrote about last week, even knowing the news is all fake, I still have to fight the urge to believe it. When they report on what I know, the rational part of the brain is jolted into action and I can see straight away that they are spinning fabulous tales. Maybe I will go on-line and point out the nonsense to those who may care about it. When the topic is outside my sphere of knowledge, I’m tempted to just accept what is being presented without thinking too much about it.

The reason the plutocrats prefer narrative journalism over actual reporting, of course, is it lets them set public opinion. We’ll get a dose of that this weekend as the actors and actresses of cable news explain to the world why we must go to war with Venezuela to stave off a humanitarian crisis. Most people know little about Venezuela, other than the fact our rulers are mad at the local ruler. That leaves the press to fill in those massive gaps with made up tales of horror from so-called experts on the subject.

As Dalrymple pointed out toward the end of his post, “One cannot live in a state of permanent skepticism about everything.” Most people are trusting and most people are wired to trust authority. That’s why we have propaganda. It works on that innate trust people have in authority. It’s not limitless, of course. The people living in the old Soviet Bloc evolved a morose cynicism, after decades of being lied to by the authorities. The same thing is happening in America, as people adapt to the reality of fake news.

Even so, some portion of the public can be counted on to believe what they are told, no matter how absurd. The Left has always relied on this to hold their ranks together. The people inclined to radical politics are in search of salvation, so they are inclined to believe more than most. The confirmation they find among their radical soulmates on the Left keeps them in the fold, even when their leaders are revealed to be frauds or contradict themselves on matters of faith. Belief is a powerful narcotic.

That raises an interesting corollary to Dalrymple’s line about living in a state of perpetual skepticism. Can a society exist in a state of perpetual fiction? We seem to be managing it, as most of what fills the public space these days is made up, either by our rulers or the various scammers allowed to work the crowd. The public space is now just a sea of nonsense and lies that no one can trust. We live in an age where even the weather forecasts are created to sell ads. Yet, the people manage to bugger on.

Maybe that’s what we are seeing in the information age. It’s Propaganda 2.0. Instead of trying to mobilize the crowd in support of the rulers, the point is to atomize the mob by turning everyone into a cynic. After all, if you can’t trust anyone, even the people in charge, then how can you conspire with anyone? Even if you find some safe space to conspire, how can you get others to join the conspiracy? In order to prevent resistance to their rule, the rulers have eliminated the social medium it requires to thrive.

Of course, by vaporizing social trust, the people in charge have eliminated an important medium through which they can maintain power. On the other hand, maybe soft-power has evolved to the point where social trust is no longer useful. Look at Venezuela. It’s clear that the US is slowly squeezing the life out of the country’s ruling class. They are doing so in a way that will cause the public to blame those bad rulers and welcome the handpicked good ruler, even though everyone knows he is a puppet.

It’s a great example of how social war has evolved. The local rulers are using the old methods of information control. They have state media repeating statements from the ruler, blaming some outside trouble makers and all the usual stuff. The US is not saying much, other than pointing out how awful it is that the power grid keeps failing. Of course, the US is probably behind the sudden rash of explosions, but that’s not important. What matters is Juan sitting in the dark, wondering when he charge his mobile again.